- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Potomac Mills is not full of Scrooges, despite the lack of holiday decorations this season.

The megamall in Dale City, Va., is not as festive as in years past because it is undergoing an eight-month-long, $23 million renovation in preparation for its 20th anniversary in September.

“We have minimal decorations because of the renovations,” said Jacquelin S. Young, marketing director at Potomac Mills. “It’s not possible to paint a ceiling with wreaths hanging there.”

The project includes a decor overhaul, from new lighting and painting to remodeled entrances and a revamped food court. The work is being done after business hours.

The 1.6 million-square-foot mall is decked out with red poinsettias, and Christmas music plays over the public-address speakers.

A new gingerbread village houses Santa Claus, along with oversized lollipops and gingerbread men.

Officials at Mills Corp. are planning to incorporate the gingerbread theme into the mall’s decorations next season.

A new set of decorations for a mall of Potomac Mills’ size can cost as much as $500,000. It’s an investment that will last for five to seven years, Ms. Young said.

Shoppers have noticed the lack of holiday decor this year.

“The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t as decorated,” said Sharon Epler of Dumfries, who usually shops at Potomac Mills during the holidays. “But I don’t think it has stopped me from buying.”

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